There were so many facets to Granville Beynon: snooker player, violinist, conductor, gardener, radio scientist, skilled administrator, a chairman of consummate skill, and a witty after-dinner speaker... I can only hint at the richness of his life and the debt we owe his memory. The first thing to remember about Granville Beynon was that he was born in Dunvant, a small mining village near Swansea. He was a person with roots and he was always loyal to his roots. In the 1930s he helped to establish a social centre for the unemployed of the village. In the 1950s he was conductor of the chapel choir, encouraging a team of amateurs to take on the challenge of a major work like the St Matthew Passion by Bach. Even after leaving Dunvant to come to Aberystwyth he always kept in close touch and was always remembered with affection.
The second thing to remember was the influence of Sir Edward Appleton. They formed a very close scientific partnership and when Granville Beynon left Slough to join the staff in Swansea, they kept in close touch though a prolific scientific correspondence. In many ways Sir Granville took on the mantle of Appleton, as President of URSI, the International Union of Radio Science, as editor of the Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics and as the undisputed leader of the Radio community in Britain.
The third important thing about Sir Granville was the skill he showed as an international statesman of science. He was heavily involved in the original International Geophysical Year. He was President of the Organising Committee of the International Year of the Quiet Sun, President of URSI. And above all we in the MIST community remember the role he played in establishing EISCAT. EISCAT was the result of genuine international co-operation. France provided the original idea, Scandinavia provided the Aurora Borealis, Germany were the first to put money on the table, but it took a Welshman to show the political skill which brought the scientists and administrators together to establish a very successful international facility. In 1973 the EISCAT proposal - which was originally planned for France, Germany and the three Nordic countries - seemed moribund. Then Beynon became involved and by 1975 the agreement had been signed, with the UK as a member. As a matter of fact, the proposal for UK membership had been turned down by the appropriate SRC committee, but Beynon was not one to give up. At a historic meeting Beynon persuaded the Board to reverse the decision of the committee. As a result of his efforts a whole generation of European scientists have had the opportunity to use the world's most advanced ionospheric radar. Finally - and most important thing of all - he was so successful as an international statesman of science partly because of his distinction as a scientist, partly because of his tremendous capacity for work, but wholly because he was such a warm human being. We will certainly miss him.
Phil Williams, April 1996